Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Probe Nigeria's Rising Debt Profile Of N24tn Now ..PDP Urges NASS

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has raised questions over Federal Government’s “unwholesome” borrowings amounting to N24.38 trillion debts as the end of last year.

Debt Management Office (DMO) Director-General Ms. Patience Oniha said last week that the figure comprised of debts owed by the federal and states governments as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

She explained that the figure was N2.66 trillion higher than the N21.7 trillion recorded as at December 31, 2017, and represents a year-on-year growth of 12.25 per cent.

The PDP yesterday called on the National Assembly to investigate how the funds were disbursed.

In a statement by its spokesman Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP blamed the government for what it described as saddening and devastating debt overhang on the nation.

According to the party, the rising debt profile was a product of the government’s failure to stimulate and run a productive economy.

The DMO boss had explained that the funds were borrowed to finance projects, fund budget deficit and meet maturing obligations, noting that 68.18 per cent of the debt are domestic.

Ms. Oniha said some foreign debts were borrowed so as to refinance treasury bills because of the short tenor of the bills.

But the PDP blamed the administration for its reliance on heavy borrowings and unbearable tax regimes, which the party said have crippled productivity, caused untold hardship and mortgaged the economic future of the nation.

The PDP said there has been a culture of unexplained borrowings leading to a steep rise in the debt stock from N17.5 trillion in 2016 to N21.72 trillion 2017, rising to N24.387 trillion in 2018.

The PDP said: “It is shocking and completely insupportable that our nation’s debt had risen from N21.72 trillion in December 2017 to N24.387 trillion in December 2018, showing an accumulation of a whopping N2.66 trillion in a space of one year.

“President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration therefore has a huge explanation to make to Nigerians…”

The party called on the National Assembly to commence a system-wide investigation into the borrowings by the administration, particularly the terms of the borrowing and the handling of the funds.

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